Victoria

Australian Crop Report: June edition

Planting conditions in Victoria at the beginning of the 2021–22 winter cropping season were mixed. There was average to above average autumn rainfall in the south-west and central cropping regions in Victoria and below average autumn rainfall in the northern Wimmera and Mallee. Although dry seeding has been common, average to below average levels of upper layer soil moisture constrained planting in some regions, particularly marginal regions.

Winter rainfall is likely to be average to above average in most cropping regions in Victoria, according to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (June to August), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 3 June 2021. The outlook further states higher than average rainfall is more likely in June in most cropping regions and less favourable conditions more likely during the remainder of winter.

Favourable June rainfall will be important for further planting and crop germination, particularly in the northern Wimmera and Mallee. Favourable winter rainfall after June will be important for crop development because of well below to below average levels of lower layer soil moisture at the beginning of winter.

Area planted to winter crops in Victoria is forecast to fall by 2% in 2021–22 to 3.4 million hectares. Below average rainfall in the north-west of the state is likely to reduce planted area in marginal cropping regions. Planting is expected to continue late into the planting window in response to high prices, particularly for canola, if favourable rainfall occurs in June. Winter crop production in Victoria is expected to fall by 28% to 6.9 million tonnes, and remain close to the 10-year average to 2020–21. Production is expected to fall largely because of an expected return to average yields in Victoria from 2020–21 levels.

Area planted to wheat is forecast to fall by 6% in 2021–22 to 1.5 million hectares. This is close to the 10-year average to 2020–21. Wheat production is forecast to fall by 30% to 3.3 million tonnes because of the forecast fall in planted area and lower yields expected in some regions.

Area planted to barley is forecast to fall by 5% to 830,000 hectares in 2021–22. This is 8% below the 10-year average to 2020–21. Barley production is forecast to fall by 28% to around 2 million tonnes because of the forecast fall in planted area and average yields expected in some regions.

Area planted to canola is forecast to reach 500,000 hectares in 2021–22, an 11% increase from 2020–21. Forecast planted area is the third highest on record. Despite the forecast increase in planted area, canola production is expected to fall by 23% to 734,000 tonnes, because of a decline in average yield from the record high levels in 2020–21.

Table 8 Winter crop forecasts, Victoria, 2021–22

Crop
Area
'000 ha
Yield
t/ha
Production
kt
Area change
%
Prod. Change
%
Wheat 1,500 2.22 3,329 –6 –30
Barley 830 2.40 1,992 –5 –28
Canola 500 1.47 734 11 –23

Note: Yields are based on area planted. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed. Percent change are relative to last year.
Sources: ABARES

Last reviewed: 7 June 2021
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